Home play could be better for kids than PE

kids playing

kids playingDoes your child hate PE lessons? Are you worrying they won't get enough exercise as a result?

Well it may not be as big a problem as you think, because a new study suggests children are actually more active when just 'playing' than when taking part in school PE lessons.

The 'Active Play Report', which measured primary school children's activity levels first-hand, reveals children were moderately or vigorously active for almost twice as long when given toys and cardboard boxes to play with, than in the school PE lessons which were monitored.

The study was carried out by the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) and the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University.

Natasha Crookes, from the BTHA, said: "Most parents understand that play is important for their children's emotional development, but what this research highlights is the time spent with props, either toys or even in this study cardboard boxes, is an easier and more enjoyable way for children to be physically active and meet the minimum guidelines of activity."

The findings were released alongside a BTHA survey, which revealed 25% of the 2,000 parents questioned said their children get just 30 minutes or less of physical activity a day.

But they realise this may be insufficient, and just under half back government guidelines that children should have upwards of an hour of physical activity a day.

The research indicates play time could be the most effective way for primary school children to reach the minimum government guidelines. But it seems parents want to brush up on their playing skills first - one in five dads and nearly one in six mums want to get better at encouraging their kids to play.

Ms Crookes added: "Whilst we see the importance school activities and PE lessons have, it is interesting to note that parents should not rely on these sessions alone for children to get a daily amount of physical activity - play is not only fun and sociable but an ideal way for children to be active."